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Keeping Your Cool with Back to School

School has started and fall activities are beginning. You are constantly shuffling children from school to practice and back again. What can you do to pass the fast-food restaurant or overcome convenience store temptation? Here are four simple steps:
Bring a cooler for snacks.
On the way to pick up your children, be sure to have a cooler with water bottles (minis are easy to hold), choices of fruit, cheese sticks, raisins, unsweetened applesauce and more. This will help you stay away from convenience stores for after-school snacks.
Fake a homemade meal.
Pick up a rotisserie chicken, 90-second microwave brown rice and a bag of frozen veggies (like broccoli). You have a balanced meal in minutes with half the fat and calories of fast-food meals. It’s actually more budget friendly, too!

Think of your slow cooker as your new best friend.
Gather items to put in your slow cooker before going to bed. Leave the slow cooker and shelf-stable ingredients out and ready to go. Toss everything in while the kiddos are eating breakfast and come home to dinner already done. Plus, the house will smell wonderful!

Aim to eat out only on the weekends.
Your heart and wallet will thank you. Try places where you can sit down as a family and enjoy each other’s company. Make it a family rule to order water only. Encourage your children to order off of kid’s menus for portion control and choose fruit for your side option.

Stick to your budget.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with apples and a small milk is much more budget friendly than picking up food for lunch and dinner every night. Keep your pantry stocked with essentials like no-salt-added canned beans, frozen veggies, whole wheat pasta and spaghetti sauce to throw dinners together in a pinch.

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